Linkspam for 14-8-2009

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1 Response to Linkspam for 14-8-2009

  1. nwhyte says:

    An alternative hypothesis might be that the elements of the Commission that have been driving this are still wedded to the treaty, wedded to the behind-closed-doors approved-lobbyists-only process that created it, and desperate at the thought that the whole thing (which only scraped through last time) suddenly seems increasingly likely not to get through the EU Parliament.

    I’m not sure that this is completely right.

    European Parliament ratification is a well-understood and oft-repeated political process, and the Commission (like the member states) is generally ready to try and cut a political deal with MEPs, who can be swayed by all manner of considerations. The ECJ, however, is not playing that game, and punting the issue to the Court really does mean that the Commission has lost almost all of its levers of control over the outcome – and the fact that the Commission itself moved the referral means that the Commission has voluntarily relinquished that control.

    I agree that parliamentary ratification was looking increasingly fraught, but the procedural position was also becoming further complicated by member state threats to refuse ratification. If the Commission decided that it would be better to get a legal clarification from the court rather than continue fighting a nasty political battle, that indicates to me a certain resignation to the outcome of the court decision, whether it be favourable or not (and also shows the Commission in a relatively good light as guardian of the treaties).

    As I said in my original post, this does mean that the channels for lobbying on the outcome have now rather dramatically changed from where they were on Wednesday morning. One can speculate that the pro-ACTA forces within the Commission preferred to go that route; I must say my feeling from having dealt with the Commission on other issues is that they would generally prefer to keep greater political control (the Commission loses ECJ cases often enough to make that a less preferable option).

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